Malaysian Airlines emergency: Cops to probe sabotage angle on Bangalore flight

Written by PTI | Kuala Lumpur | Updated: Apr 22 2014, 02:33am hrs
Malasia airlinesInvestigations would be carried out to see if there were elements of sabotage on the plane: Transport minister (AP)
Police is probing if there was any sabotage behind the emergency landing of a Bangalore-bound Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 166 people on board and the government has sought a report within two days.

The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH192 turned back early this morning following a tyre burst and faulty landing gear.

Investigations would be carried out to see if there were elements of sabotage on the plane, Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said while responding to Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's call for the police to conduct an investigation.

Hishamuddin asked police to submit their report by Wednesday.

"I give them two days. On Wednesday, I want to see an early report as this is not something like MH370 that is missing in the Indian Ocean, it is related to the condition of the tyres (landing gear)," he said.

"These sort of incidents should not happen. I have directed that although MAS is under Khazanah, the investment arm of the government, the ministry should be given the report as soon as possible," he said.

Asked on possibility of sabotage, the minister said he had directed the police to get going immediately, adding, "our standard operating procedure (SOP), as with MH370, has not changed but any leads that we have must be verified and corroborated." He asked people not to speculate.

The Boeing 737-800 - carrying 159 passengers and seven crew members - was en route to Bangalore from here when it made the emergency landing.

The Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that the turn back was because "one of the tyres on the right hand main landing gear burst during takeoff. The Captain was alerted by Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control that tyre debris were found on the runway and immediately contacted Malaysia Airlines Operations Control Centre (OCC) at 10:25pm."

"As safety is of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)," it said.

The Airport Fire Rescue Services (AFRS) were deployed as soon as the pilot was instructed to turn back to the airport by Operations Control Centre (OCC).

"All 159 passengers and 7 crew members on board have disembarked from the aircraft. MH192 will be re-timed to depart KLIA at 3.30pm on 21 April 2014 and arrive Bangalore at 5.00pm the same day," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the plane with stranded passengers has left for Bangalore from Kuala Lumpur.

The people on board the plane were unharmed as the plane landed safely at KLIA around 1.56am (local time). The flight had departed at 10.09pm (local time) last night, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) tweeted.

The jet was scheduled to arrive in Bangalore at 11.35 pm IST yesterday.

Hishammuddin praised the pilot of the plane for his "skillful" handling of the aircraft.

"The passengers, despite being tired, expressed their admiration for the pilot's skillful handling of the aircraft in making the emergency landing safe (at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport) without any harm to the passengers," he said and placed a pilot's cap on Nor Adam Azmi's head as a gesture of appreciation.

Peter Talalla, a former special adviser to AirAsia's Chief Executive Officer, said it could happen to any aircraft but what was important was that the incident did not affect and endanger the overall flight operation.

"The reality is that although this does not happen every day, airplanes have landing gear malfunctions more often than you might imagine but people do not realise it "Why because a burst tyre rarely causes death or injuries and so it does not become an issue to any quarters," he told state-owned Bernama news agency.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Awareness Board president Dr Saharuddin Awang Yahya, said that MAS must review the engineering examination procedure on its aircraft.